New art book “Illustration 2016” gathers 150 of today’s best pro and amateur illustrators

If you love art and illustration, you’re probably aware of plenty of non-professional, up-and-coming artists who showcase their work on sites like Tumblr and Twitter. In fact, fan art can be of such a high quality as to surpass the original work, and now there’s a new art book on sale in Japan which aims to “capture” the entire illustration scene at the present moment, showcasing work both amateur and professional by some of today’s most influential artists.

Illustration 2016 features work by 150 artists of different backgrounds and is the perfect guide for those who are into fan art and illustration of all kinds.

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Disney plans to release augmented reality coloring book in the not-too-distant future

At some point in our childhoods, most of us probably owned a few coloring books to keep us entertained on rainy days or while traveling.

Although coloring is still a great way to boost a child’s imagination and improve motor skills, as digital technology continues to develop, fewer children are turning to coloring books to pass the time.

So in order to make coloring “cool” again, Disney decided to do a little research into what they could do to breathe some life back into this old pastime favorite.

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Five beautiful pylon designs that belong in Japan

Whenever we see something that’s cute, huge and blows our minds, we generally look to Japan as the source behind the creation. While they’ve proved they can be design innovators in oversized sushi, and the creation of fluffy giant cats, there’s one area where Japan has a lot to learn from other countries, and its something that exists around the country in abundance: power lines.

Often seen towering over rice fields, propped up on the side of mountains and jutting out beyond the high rises, wouldn’t it be significantly more amazing if the ordinary-looking transmission tower had the occasional smiley face or pair of gigantic arms like a colossal Titan? We take a look at some amazing electricity pylon designs from around the world, in the hope that one day, Japan will turn its keen design eye in their direction.

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At 41, Ichiro Suzuki continues to amaze by making professional pitching debut

Even if you’re not a fan of baseball, you’ve probably heard of Ichiro Suzuki. He was a starter for the Seattle Mariners for a number of years before heading to New York to play for the Yankees and then to the Miami Marlins for the 2015 season. He’s broken a number of records, received dozens of awards and is widely known to be a charismatic and respectful player. Since his debut as a professional baseball player, he’s played almost exclusively in the outfield because of his wicked throwing arm.

As one of Japan’s most prolific baseball stars, the country and the Internet collectively lost its mind when Ichiro pitched one full inning on the last day of the Major League Baseball regular season.

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Kyoto professor makes petroleum easily using only water and carbon dioxide…we think

Among the many problems presented by using fossil fuels such as petroleum, one of the more pressing issues is their limited and rapidly decreasing supply. Unfortunately, it would take thousands of years of organic matter decomposing and compressing under layers of the Earth to replenish the supply in the manner in which it was first made, and that’s an unlikely business.

But now it’s been reported that a professor from Kyoto University and his team have found a way to create petroleum efficiently and cheaply. Their method uses no energy-consuming high pressures or temperatures and only requires water, petroleum, and carbon dioxide. As a result, it can be done so cheaply that KTV reported 100 yen (US$0.83) of oil can be synthesized using only 3 yen ($0.02) worth of electricity.

It all seems to good to be true, and in fact it may not be true. With published peer-reviewed studies, mysterious television appearances, and lack of mainstream media coverage. We honestly can’t figure out is this amazing breakthrough or not. And neither can anyone else as science enthusiasts take to Twitter to find answers.

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This compilation of teas from around the world is making us thirsty! 【Video】

While coffee may be the world’s favorite caffeinated beverage, tea has a much longer history, and is still deeply ingrained in many cultures. How people in each country take their tea is as varied is the types of tea available, and even personal preferences within each country.

Whether you like your tea black, green, white, hot, iced, served straight or with yak butter, take a look at this video compilation of teas around the world and see how many you have tried!

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Check out the incredible futuristic gear at Japan’s 2015 Good Design Awards 【Videos】

Every year since 1957, Japan’s Good Design Awards have honored products which are designed in such a way to have a positive impact on people’s lives. The award system, which is now operated by the Japan Institute of Design Promotion, has recently released their list of 2015’s Good Design Best 100 award winners.

With such innovative ideas as LED jump ropes and basketball courts, these awards are truly the best place to catch a glimpse of athletics equipment of the future!

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Prime Minister Abe does super cute shuffle-jog into meeting room, China falls in love【GIF】

Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe met Russian President Vladimir Putin at the U.N. headquarters in New York on September 28 to discuss advancing negotiations on long-standing territorial disputes between the two countries.

Rather than focusing on politics, however, netizens have been focusing much more on the fact that, having arrived late to the proceedings, Prime Minister Abe performed an adorable little shuffle-jog straight towards the Russian prez. So adorable, in fact, that some Chinese netizens have completely reversed their initial impressions of Prime Minister Abe, and now apparently think he’s the last word in kawaii!

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Japanese condiment company Kikkoman encourages Brits to desecrate white rice with tasty sauce

One of the first things that foreign visitors to Japan learn about Japanese cuisine is that white rice served by itself is meant to be enjoyed as it is, not soaked in soy or doused in dipping sauce. But many people who aren’t all that well-acquainted with Japanese food find the taste of plain boiled rice bland, and love to drizzle sweet and salty sauces all over in order to jazz it up a bit, even if it does make eating it with chopsticks ten times harder.

The UK is one place that probably isn’t known for having a high level of familiarity with Japanese food. Chains like Wagamama and Shoryu Ramen do exist, but they tend to play fast and loose with the definition of Japanese food, and as a result many British diners wind up getting their tastebuds in a bit of a tangle. But now, Japanese company Kikkoman is actually encouraging this desecrating behaviour by bringing out a new product in the UK market: Kikkoman Sweet Sauce for Rice! As you might expect, it’s raising eyebrows in Japan.

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Introducing eight nuggets of life wisdom to up your random trivia game

You know that one person who could definitely win Jeopardy because he/she just seems to know everything? RocketNews24 is happy (and a bit smug) to announce that today we’re going to be that person and share with you some tokens of life wisdom that were originally offered up on the Japanese internet. Want to find out the luckiest day of the year, an early warning sign for cancer, and a subconscious way to boost productivity at work? Let us enlighten you!

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Yakuza 6 to feature baddest Yakuza film dude of all time: Japanese actor Beat Takeshi 【Video】

Japanese actor and director “Beat” Takeshi Kitano is an instantly recognisable face over here in Japan, but westerners might be more familiar with him in his role as sadistic homeroom teacher Kitano in Battle Royale, or perhaps as the host of the madcap 1980s Japanese game show Takeshi’s Castle.

But it turns out that ol’ Beat is no longer just the face of Japanese TV and gritty movies, as he has recently joined a long line of celebrities lending their voices and images to video games. Check out Beat Takeshi’s appearance in the upcoming Sega game, Yakuza 6, in the following trailer.

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To –san or not to –san? Should you use the Japanese honorific suffix when speaking English?

For roughly the past two decades, I’ve woken up every morning and asked myself the question “How can I use more Japanese vocabulary today?” That desire was the major reason I decided to study abroad in college, plus move back to Japan after graduation, and I’ve actually reached the point where I’ve got a pretty sizeable stockpile of Japanese words I wish I could import into my native language.

And yet, often when I hear someone use the Japanese honorific “-san” when speaking English, it feels awkward and superfluous to me. But it turns out there’re actually a few compelling reasons behind English-speakers peppering their speech with “-san,” as it solves a couple of linguistic limitations of the English language.

So what are the pros and cons of importing the word into English? Let’s take a look.

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The surprising and little-known Japanese art of gyotaku: culinary prints made with real fish

Japan has a fascinating art history. From early cord designs on clay vessels in the Jomon period (c. 11000–c. 300 BC) through to picture scrolls, ukiyo-e woodblock prints, and the distinctive style of animation that exists today, people in Japan have always found unique ways to capture the world around them for the rest of the world to see.

One little-known art technique from the 1800s is now making a comeback, and while its roots are firmly planted in Japan’s traditional history, it’s a method of printing that people all around the world can enjoy. All you need is paper, some paint and a nice-looking fish.

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Sweet bunny pals relaxing in cups make us genkier than coffee ever could!【Videos】

Sometimes waking up is hard, especially when the seasons change and bed starts to feel snugglier than ever before. But wake up we must, and many of us have invented little tricks to make the process easier, such as blaring out our favourite songs, sucking down industrial-sized cups of coffee, and cooing over cute animals on the internet.

For your consideration today, we’d like to present a menagerie of of baby bunny rabbits twitching their little pink noses at you over the rim of a couple of coffee and tea cups. Pick your choice of bun “to go” and go get ’em, tiger. After you’ve watched the cute videos, of course…

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Hack your life with these 10 brilliant ideas that will cost you next to nothing

Whether you’re a struggling college student or just trying to save some money by reusing and recycling, here are some lifehacks from Japan that have proven to be very popular on Twitter. They may look silly, but you will thank these ingenious users for their clever ideas as you wonder why you never thought of these before. Here are 10 ways to upgrade your life according to Japanese Twitter users.

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Expert gamer builds and beats most insane Super Mario Maker level yet 【Video】

Now that Super Mario Maker has finally hit the market, gamers the world over are starting to build, upload, and play their best creations, but of course, it wasn’t long before veterans of the game started seeing just how crazy they could get. Earlier this week, while most of us in Japan were enjoying the Silver Week holidays, one expert gamer created the most cracked out course we’ve seen yet, which quickly went viral after it was posted to YouTube.

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Studio Ghibli tattoos feature our favourites from Totoro, Spirited Away and Howl’s Moving Castle

We here at RocketNews love Studio Ghibli and its cast of adorable animated characters. We save all our yennies to splurge on licensed merchandise and never miss a chance to visit tourist sites where we might bump into acclaimed semi-retired director Hayao Miyazaki.

One thing we’re yet to do is adorn our bodies with permanent ink tributes to the Ghibli stars. Thankfully, there are fans out there much braver than us who have made the leap, giving us a huge collection of beautiful tattoos for us to sift through. Take a look at 12 of our favourites, from the films My Neighbour Totoro, Spirited Away and Howl’s Moving Castle.

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Insults from around the world: an “educational video” that crosses boundaries【Video】

Many people dream about learning another language, and the possibilities and opportunities a second or third language open up are incredible. However, for a lot of us, it’s difficult to put in the time and effort to properly learn an entire language so that we can use it proficiently. There’s grammar, vocabulary, speaking, writing and listening; it’s just a whole lot to take in.

So while absolute fluency is the goal we all aim for, just being able to insult someone in a different language is a nice second place prize. This isn’t just a crass video about spouting off all the improper words, though. As one person puts it, this is “So the world will know if someone insults a foreigner.” The more you know!

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Splatoon’s Inklings get a retro makeover in Super Mario Maker【Video】

Super Mario Maker, which was released exclusively for Nintendo’s Wii U console on September 10, has been a hit, giving hours of creative fun to Nintendo fans all over the world. There are tons of secrets and extras to be unlocked, and we wanted to show off a really cool one that takes Nintendo’s newest IP back in time into the retro Mario world. Read on to see Mario transformed into an Inkling from Splatoon!

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Japanese PM Abe accidentally thanks the inventor of the retweet while trying to reach Indian PM

Some of you may have noticed during the royal rumble that ensued in the Japanese Parliament late last week, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe quietly slipped out while members of his party continued to fight back a horde of angry legislators so that they could usher in changes to the way the constitution is understood. At first, I wondered why he would duck out at such a moment, but then I remembered: it’s his biiirthdaaay♪

Yes, on 21 September, Japan’s fearless leader turned 61. Unfortunately his age is really starting to show in his lack computer savvy. We already know the PM has his own Twitter account after Abe revealed that he pays his Twitter fees just like the rest of us. But apparently he still hasn’t grasped how to use the “@” symbol properly when a message of thanks to the Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi accidentally went to the wrong guy, who also just happened to help develop Twitter.

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